Dear friend of Berry College:
At the beginning of my second year as President, I would like to introduce a newsletter for special friends of Berry College. A number of college and university presidents find quarterly newsletters useful. Over the years, I have enjoyed reading those which have come my way.
As I look back into Berry's past, and think ahead to the future, I very much have in mind the life and work of my predecessor Gloria Shatto. From the day I arrived on campus, Gloria was a good colleague, advisor, and friend. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. The best memorial to Gloria Shatto will be a Berry College that assumes its full potential, and becomes what Gloria ‚ and John Bertrand before her ‚ worked so hard to make possible. Berry today is a very good college. We possess strengths that make us unusual in American higher education. Nevertheless, we also have great challenges before us. In this and subsequent letters, I will outline what we must do to live up to the high expectations for the college held by all who care about us.
Remaining dedicated to our mission
Several people have asked me whether the values and mission of the institution will endure. It was the mission that so attracted me to Berry. All of us remain committed to an education of the head, the heart, and the hands: intellectual development; spiritual growth in an interdenominational Christian setting; and opportunities for our students to contribute to the costs of their education while learning the value of hard work. More than 1,450 Berry students work on campus. Each week, our students volunteer an average of 800 hours of work in Rome, Floyd County, and beyond. Our religion-in-life program provides many occasions for worship as well as community service. We are stronger academically than we ever have been in our history. Our educational, religious, and moral foundations are secure.
What kind of people do we want Berry graduates to be?
And yet, we cannot rest on our laurels. Our values will endure, but everything else around us clearly is in flux. Adapting to change with intelligence and confidence, and with a firm moral grounding, is the primary lesson a liberal arts college can offer. We want Berry graduates to be competitive in the world they enter after the commencement ceremony; we also want them to carry away lessons and habits of mind that will serve them well in 2020 and 2050. For most who read this newsletter, the second date will seem remote indeed. And yet, most of our entering freshmen will be only in their 69th year when 2050 rolls around. Some of them will still be engaged in their careers, and I hope all of them will be serving their communities in that distant time. What kind of people do we want our graduates to be in another half century?
And what are we going to do to bring that about? When we look so far ahead, we realize what a challenge leaders in higher education face in 1999 and 2000.
Kim Knuchel, a junior early childhood education major, works in the college's computing and technology department as part of the on-campus student work program. More than 1,450 students hold down campus jobs. Each week, Berry students volunteer an average of 800 hours of work in Rome and Floyd County. Indeed, we are stronger academically than we ever have been in our history. Our educational, religious, and moral foundations are secure.